I’ll admit it.  I love rookies.  I love upside.  Potential is one of my favorite words.  Check out my fantasy football rosters (which you will get to do soon) and you’ll see way too many young guys. So when did a little story on the 5 rookies to watch in training camp, I just knew I’d have to talk about it.

I will try to keep my comments separate and original from but obviously there will be some overlap.  For instance, we’re both likely to say things like “he’ll only make an impact on special teams” a lot because that’s generally true about most rookies.  I’ll cover them in the order they cover them.

H. B. Blades– Kudos to for doing three whole paragraphs on Blades without mentioning that Blades is the son of Bennie Blades a former all-pro DB.  It is a rarity these days.  Oops, I guess I did it.  Still, I like the current Redskins trend of taking/signing “legacy” players.  In this round of draftees/undrafted free agents, we took Blades, Jordan Palmer, and Byron Westbrook.  Often what separates the 5th rounder that makes it versus the 5th rounder who is in the arena league in a year is an understanding of how hard you have to work to make it.  Having a view into the league, particularly when it is a view of a success story, can’t hurt.  One look at Eli Manning will show you that it isn’t always enough, but hey, its a start. points out that Blades is undersized but makes up for it with a great motor.  Guess what.  London Fletcher is the exact same height as Blades (5-10) and he has had a long, successful career.  Blades might be ready just in time for when Fletcher is ready to retire.

Laron Landry-Aren’t you glad you have to tell you to pay attention to our first round draft pick?  I’m on record as saying this was not an optimal use of our pick, but now it is time to stop thinking of such things.  He’s a Redskin now, so we throw our support his way.  Laron is fast enough to play center field and can lay the wood.  Greg Williams is on record as saying that this will allow Sean Taylor to play up closer to the line.  I’m all for that.  My biggest complaint about Taylor is that he gives up big plays, particularly in play action (and flea flickers).  If Laron frees Taylor up to make his special brand of play and gets back to cover then I’m all for it.  Heck, it can go the other way too, because I like Taylor’s ball skills and Laron can hit.

It’s my guess that Landry doesn’t start until week 6 or 8 just like most of our other defensive rookies, but I think when he starts he’ll be even farther along than Taylor when he finally got to start.

Dallas Sartz- Frankly, my biggest problem with this draft is that we drafted a guy named Dallas and another guy named Landry in the same draft.  For you young ones Coach Tom Landry was the well-respected coach of the Cowboys in the hey day of our rivalry with them.  As much as we all hate the Cowboys, it is hard to dislike Tom Landry.  He was a gentleman and a great coach.  He popularized the Shotgun and something called the Flex defense which is now rarely used as a scheme but is the grandfather of a lot of the modern defensive formations.

Anyway, Dallas Sartz is a great late round pickup.  He went to a great program (USC) and had good success there, but was limited in his junior and senior years by injuries.  He played through those injuries his senior year and that may have had some impact on his overall performance.  He’s a huge guy with adequate speed, and if his instincts are up to the task maybe he’ll stick.  If not, no sweat.

Pete Schmitt-Honestly, I don’t know a thing about him.  I could quote a bunch of different places and pretend to know something, but I just don’t like that kind of disingenuous blogging.  So instead, I’ll tell you the one important thing I think mentioned which is that while Nemo is hurt, Schmitt is one of only a few true fullback options behind Mike Sellers.  So he has a chance to stick around for awhile and make an impression.

Byron Westbrook- Byron went to Salisbury St.  For those of you who live outside of Maryland, let me tell you a story about Salisbury, MD.  Salisbury is the home of Purdue chicken.  All around Salisbury, it smells like a chicken farm.  Greg Williams repeatedly mentions how tough Westbrook is, and the smell alone will tell you why.  The funniest and saddest thing I ever saw was in Salisbury.  For those who don’t know, one of the major ways to the beach in Maryland runs through Salisbury.  One day I’m going to the beach and I hit a ton of traffic at an intersection.  When I finally get to the intersection I see why– a chicken truck overturned and the cages holding the chicken truck all busted.  Chickens are running wild in the middle of this intersection.  The only thing keeping it from being just funny is how bed I felt for the driver who was running around trying to catch them. You haven’t lived until you see an intersection full of chickens. The only thing that would have made it funnier is seeing one of them lay an egg on a Hyundai.

Oh, and Byron, you’re practice squad bait.  With Rogers, Springs, Smoot, Macklin, Butler, and Jimoh ahead of you there just isn’t room. But work hard, because Williams likes you.